One of my friends from out of town sent me a message asking questions on cloth diapers and mentioned that she reads my blog! Well that makes me very happy :D Since I responded to her questions with some elaborate descriptions, I thought I might as well post it here too....
I'm excited to hear that you want to give cloth diapers a try. They are wonderful!
It is easier for you that you start now because a 1 year old doesn't require changing as often as a newborn would.
I use AMP Diapers and I love it! http://www.ampdiapers.com/
There are a lot of brands out there and you want to be selective when you buy. Some can be leaky.
AMP diapers have many different types for different people. For the closest to disposables, you can buy the All In One. It's one piece and pre-stuffed, you just throw it in the wash and that's all there is to it.
I like the AMP Duo Pocket. It's basically a hybrid of Pocket diaper and All In Two diapers.
The advantage of a pocket diaper is that the kid will feel dry just like disposables, and you can decide how thick you want the filling to be. Usually for bed time you want more, and less for day time.
The All In Two will feel wet for the kid as soon as she pees, but you can re-use the cover 2-3 times as long as it doesn't get wet before you throw it in the wash. This will also make them more aware of the consequences of their peeing, thus promoting potty training.
The Duo Pocket gives you the option of using it as a pocket or as an AI2. Am I making sense at all?
How many you need really depends on the type of diapers and how often you want to wash them. For example: with disposables, I change Kirana 4 times a day, and I do daily laundry diligently (this is hypothetical. hahahha...)
If I use All In Ones, I would want at least 6 diapers, so at the end of day I can wash 4 diapers and have 1 to wear and 1 spare while waiting for clean ones. To be comfortable though, I would recommend having at least 10 diapers.
If I use All In Twos, counting that I can re-use the cover if it stays clean, I would need at least 4 covers, and 8 or more inserts, because you will need to change a bit more often to keep her feeling dry and from rashes.
If I use Pocket Diapers, I would need at least 6 covers and 6 inserts. But again, to be comfortable I would recommend at least 10 of each.
There are cotton, bamboo, hemp, microfibre, and other inserts. Most common is cotton because it's cheaper, but hemp and bamboo are more absorbent. I use cotton for day time and hemp for night time.
Since I don't diligently do laundry and since accidents do happen, I started out with 8 covers and about a dozen cotton inserts. That was enough for me but cloth diapering gets addictive. Hahahaha... new colours came out, etc etc. So now I have 14 covers and have added 5 hemp inserts and 5 hemp boosters. I have 1 pocket, 5 Pocket Duo, and 8 All In Two.
I also bought a flushable linings for poops. That way you don't have to try to shake it off everytime.
Good luck, and let me know if you have other questions!